Saturday Sampler: Come the Dark by Rebecca Hamilton

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler spotlights Come the Dark, a romantic, paranormal, and haunting fantasy by Rebecca Hamilton.

The Story

Rose desperately wants to escape the abuse of the father who impregnated her and the dark spirits that haunt her life. Being thrust from Georgia 1961 into the era of Salem’s infamous witch trials isn’t what she had in mind, and now her daughter is left hopelessly out of reach.

The only way to return to her daughter is by facing certain death to banish the dark spirits that plague Salem. If she doesn’t eliminate these dark spirits in time, they will destroy civilization and trap her in this strange new place, ages away from her daughter.

Even if she can complete the task in time to return home to save her daughter, there’s still one problem: she’s falling in love with a man who can’t return with her. Achieving her goals will force her to choose between the only man who has never betrayed her and a daughter she can’t quite remember but will never forget.

A heart-wrenching tale of a mother’s love for her daughter, this romantic paranormal fantasy underlines the depravity of both historical and modern society while capturing the essence of sacrifice and devotion.

As one reviewer said: Once again, Rebecca Hamilton has invited us into her vast world to play with her wonderful supernatural creatures. This time we get to learn more about the Ankou. Hamilton has taken the old myths and breathed new life into them. What’s even better is we get to experience time travel in a very interesting way.

The sampler

Rebecca Hamilton
Rebecca Hamilton

I can’t breathe. My lungs hurt from the effort. Where is she? Where’s my daughter?

I’m shaking and full of dread and I absolutely can’t live if anything bad has happened to her. Please, God, let her be okay. Please!

My sluggish heartbeat turns to a pounding of adrenaline. I rush to the front of the house and burst onto the porch. The first thing I see is the dead raccoon that Pa left beside the house, now swarmed by flies. I spin toward where I know Mama will be sitting.

Beneath the long-ago burnt-out porch light—now a cemetery for moths—Mama sips at her tea. She’s cozy, all wrapped in her cotton robe as though nothing is wrong. The glow of morning sun catches the reddish hues of her graying blonde hair.

“Where is she?” I ask, grasping the doorframe to keep my weak body balanced.

Mama jumps. Her tea splashes as she shakily lowers the cup to her lap. “Oh, Rose. Please don’t do this.”

“Don’t do what?”

I’m met with silence. She shifts in the porch swing and lowers her gaze. Her face is all puffy, her eyes red.

I narrow my eyes. “Where’s Anna? You know. I can tell you do.”

Then I see it—that flash of a smile that is completely devoid of happiness. Her instinctual defense to hide whatever she is really feeling. But this time, even she can’t hold that smile in place.

I’ve lived on the wrong side of secrets long enough to know when someone is hiding something. And that’s exactly what Mama is doing.

I step closer, jabbing my finger in her face. “Tell me! I know you know where she is! What did you do to her?”

I’m shaking. My hands clench and my heart pounds in my ears. Ma stands, the teacup tumbling from her lap. She fumbles for it, then lets it go. She paces, then sits again. Her hands flit around, from her face, to smooth her dress, twisting in her lap. She’s coming undone, about to fall apart completely, and I don’t care one bit.

“WHERE’S ANNA?”

“Your Pa loves us,” she says finally, her words hidden behind her hand as she talks. “He’s protecting your reputation.”

“His reputation?” I say, incredulous.

She smiles weakly. “You’ll understand one day.”

I won’t ever understand. Mama had been good to me once, but ever since the Darkness came, she’s someone else. A woman stuck between denial and oblivion.

“Where’s Anna?” I ask again, but already I have that sinking feeling in my stomach. The pain of the birth ebbs, replaced by a fresh rush of adrenaline.

“It’s for the best.” Mama pinches the bridge of her nose. “We can be a family again, the way we’re supposed to be. Your Pa’s learned his lesson. We all make mistakes, Rose. The Lord implores us to forgive.”

Pa’s truck crunches over the gravel driveway and starts down the road, tearing away from us. He must have her. I can’t even think straight, can’t think beyond the thought that my daughter must be okay. That she can’t be hurt. That Pa can’t take her away from me. I’m sick with panic and fearing the worst. I can’t lose her.

The dusty blue truck kicks up dirt as Pa halts at the end of our road. He’s on his way to hide the evidence of what he’s done. He can’t stand to look at her, to be reminded of the monster that lives inside of him. He already tried to convince me to give her up. I considered it, but only for the sake of protecting her from him. But it wasn’t his decision. Anna was never his. She is a product of his abuse, of his drunkenness and Mama’s cowardliness.

But she is still my child.

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